News Reptile Trade Cleared By Bbc Documentary

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Reptile trade ‘cleared’ by BBC documentary
12th December 2012

by Tony Jones



Experts and traders are celebrating after what they see as a positive report by investigative journalists at the BBC.

Reptile pet hobbyists and traders came under scrutiny from documentary film makers during a report for the BBC’s Inside Out programme. 

Following months of debates, interviews and filming, the programme focused its attention on reptile shows, with reporters and camera crew given free range to interview and film at the UK’s largest event in Doncaster after complaints from animal rights groups. 

The subsequent film showed the reptile hobby in a positive light and helped to dismiss many myths and misunderstandings about the reptile pet trade.

“It was always going to be risky given the usually sensationalist nature of the media, but we had nothing to hide,” said Chris Newman, from the Federation of British Herpetologists. “We always knew that the claims being made by the usual suspects in the animal rights movement were not factual or based in good science and this was an opportunity for us to put our side of the story forward.”

Chris said animal rights groups routinely attacked the pet reptile trade with claims regarding animal welfare, human health and invasive species.  The show provided a platform for representatives from the reptile hobby to refute these aspersions and show the arguments used by animal rights campaigners as ‘bad science and propaganda’.

The show featured examples of best practice reptile-keeping and highlighted the economic benefits of the reptile pet trade, most notably featuring an £18,000 python. 

Independent animal welfare expert and former RSPCA inspector Tim Wass OBE expressed his satisfaction with the excellent standard of animal welfare on display at the event.  The film ended with an interview with one of the leading proponents of the animal rights movements in the UK stipulating that their goal was to bring about a European ban on reptile keeping.

Chris Newman said after the programme was aired: “We think the animal rights movement in the UK has been shown in their true colours and we hope that the general public now understand the extremist nature of their agenda.”  

Watch the full piece on line here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHcakFUURUA